Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

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Hemp Surfboards: Riding The Wave Of Hemp Hype With A New Kind Of Board

Chad Kaimanu Jackson, a Native Hawaiian, sustainability scientist, and pro surfer, creates the world’s premiere hemp surfboards. He uses hemp fibers instead of fiberglass and wraps the boards in hemp foam.

It took becoming versed in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” world travel, and going back to school to study earth sciences and anthropology for Chad Kaimanu Jackson to come up with hemp surfboardS.

“I was learning of the great legacy of hemp in ancient China and up to the founding of the US. And in my study of human history and attempting to integrate the concepts of sustainability in my scientific and academic career I found myself in a bit of cognitive dissonance,” says Jackson.

Photo: A surfer in a wetsuit rides a hemp surfboard.

Despite being more sustainable, hemp surfboards cost about the same as conventional boards. (Photo: Bee Line Hemp Wick)

“I knew I had a mission to incorporate my life as a surfer, a Native Hawaiian, and a scientist into contributing to the sustainability/conservation movement in tandem with the cultural revival that was occurring with Indigenous Nations.”


Jackson, 39, has been building surfboards since a young age and started wearing hemp clothes in 2001. For the past 15 years the surfer, who has competed on the Big Wave Tour, has been the primary hemp surfboard builder in the surfing world.

He initially began using an alternative form of surfboard foam based from soybean oils, but became interested in using hemp in any way after becoming involved with the Hemp Museum, a nonprofit originally located in Santa Cruz, and its store.

Jackson briefly made boards for the store before starting to construct his own after gaining sponsorship through Hawaiian-based surf brand Da Hui. He also had a stint with Local Clothing.

In 2007, Jackson started HempSurf. Today he has support from brand Vissla who help him with the boards as well as his surfing and science work.

Photo: Chad Jackson laying on the ground surrounded by 7 of his hemp surfboards.

Jackson’s hemp surfboards are made from hemp along with other sustainable materials. (Photo: Chad Jackson)

Other alternative materials Jackson uses in his surfboards include recycled redwood, flax, agave wood core, and bio-based resins and epoxies.

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in hemp surfboards, says the surfer.

“(It) is a simple delayed response of the public and surf communities finally catching on to the sustainability movement, which in terms of hemp, has been fueled by the recent legalization of hemp agriculture, (the) CBD industry, and the prevalence of Instagram and other social media outlets,” says Jackson.

Compared to the price of conventional surfboards, Jackson says the cost of a hemp surfboard is virtually the same. Shortboards are priced between $500 – $600 while a longboard ranges from between $800 and $1,000 and agave boards start at $1,500.


It’s important that hemp is recognised as it has the ability to offset environmental impacts derived from corporate agriculture, big pharma, and the petro-chemical industry, stresses Jackson.

“The organic nature is superior to synthetic materials in the overall life energy the fibers carry, the strength-to-weight ratios are the strongest found in nature (along with flax), superior flexura,” he says.

“This carries over to sustainable agriculture, economics, indigenous cultural revival and empowerment, and celebrates our connection with our ancestors and the tools they have passed on to us.”

He is currently involved in a film project about the Hawaiians who brought surfing to Santa Cruz in 1885.

“The film will segue into how suffers can come together to solve environmental problems and mobilize as a very powerful and influential subculture,” says Jackson.

For Jackson, hemp surfboards are a way to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility. (Photo: Jensen Young-Sik)

Kea Eubank’s interest in hemp started over 15 years ago, when he was looking for better alternatives to smoking with butane lighters and matches. Hemp was the way forward. Eubank, born and bred in Maui, and his partner Miranda Campbell formulated “the hemp wick,” a term Eubank says is now used by over 70 different companies, and the first hemp wick company, Bee Line Hemp Wick. Bee Line combines hemp and beeswax, both ancient and renewable resources used in lighting medicinal herbs, pipes and fine cigars, and hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes.

“(We) came to realize how versatile hemp is, and have been looking for other uses ever since, which tends to keep us pretty busy, as there are thousands,” says Eubank.


About three years ago Bee Line Hemp Wick partnered with Conway Bixby of Bixby Surfboards, a board shaper and river surfer in Bend, Oregon, and began making surfboards out of made out of recycled foam and organic hemp fiber in place of fiberglass.

“We were hoping we could trade out even more of the standard surfboard materials for hemp while maintaining the high performance,” says Eubank.

The hemp comes from Romania in eastern Europe, which Eubank, 38, says he’s found to have the best organic hemp in the world.

“They use a traditional process called retting where they let the hemp break down in the field and then finish with machine processing it into long strands which they spin/twist back together,” he says.

“A lot of other manufacturers use chemicals to break down their hemp to a pulp, and then bleach it.”

Jackson catches a massive wave on a hemp surfboard.

Jackson catches a massive wave in Oregon, reiding on a hemp surfboard. (Photo: Richard Hallman)

Bee Line Wick uses the hemp in a unique way to make the boards, using hemp fibers instead of fiberglass, wrapping the recycled foam in hemp.

“I’m not sure if anybody is doing it quite like us,” says Eubank.


The boards, which he says start at $650 but vary in price depending on size, are popular.

“Half the people love that they utilize hemp and the other half just love how they look,” says Eubank.

“(Customers are) mostly river surfers, and then there’s people just stoked on anything hemp and to have a hemp surfboard in their quiver.”

Eubank says traditional materials used to make surfboards are chemical-based.

“Surfers naturally want to keep the earth and ocean clean because they are immersed in the elements daily,” says Eubank.

“Hemp, if processed responsibly has a lot less impact on the earth, while (the board is) being made, and in the end when the board is no longer surfable.”

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Mission Farms Rest CBD Promotes Sleep With Chamomile & Essential Oils

Mission Farms Rest CBD put us to sleep fast and gave us deeper, restful sleep. This unique CBD tincture includes organic chamomile oil and other restful organic essential oils.

Mission Farms Rest CBD put us to sleep fast and gave us deeper, restful sleep.

Imagine combining the power of a cup of chamomile tea with the balancing effects of CBD oil. Mission Farms takes a novel approach to their CBD blends, by combining them with essential oils designed to enhance their effects. Mission Farms Rest CBD adds organic chamomile essential oil, bringing these two herbal relaxers together, along with organic bergamot, orange, and lavender as well.

The power of these combined ingredients had us drifting off to sleep in no time after we dropped it under our tongue. Before we dozed off, we enjoyed the tasty combination of citrus and lavender with the added organic vanilla flavoring. This CBD oil has a strong flavor, but you won’t taste the hemp. We were also impressed by the care and transparency that Mission Farms brings to their whole product line.

Photo: Mission Farms Rest CBD and a dropper sit on the edge of a bathtub, with a bowl of Mission Farms CBD Bath soak.

With essential oils like chamomile and lavender added, Mission Farms Rest CBD helped us fall asleep fast. We also loved sampling their CBD bath soak!

Mission Farms paid us a fee and offered us free products in return for our honest opinion. If you purchase a product from one of these links, we’ll receive a percentage of sales. Read more about sponsored content on Ministry of Hemp.

Read on to learn more about Mission Farms and their delicious, effective CBD oil.


In addition to Rest CBD, Mission Farms also offers CBD oil blends designed for stress-relief and to ease the symptoms of pain. While other CBD brands are adding ingredients like melatonin to their sleep CBD blends, we appreciated the unique approach of focusing on essential oils and the terpenes they contain. There’s a growing body of research to suggest that terpenes can have beneficial effects, especially when combined with cannabinoids like CBD.

But Mission Farms are doing more than just creating unique CBD blends. They take a “farm-to-family” approach to CBD products, where they own and manage the farms where their hemp is grown in Bend, Oregon. They’re involved in every stage of the process, from hemp growing to the final supplement. This care is evident in their CBD, from the clear labelling to the high-quality, easy-to-measure dropper in each bottle.

Ministry of Hemp commissioned our own independent lab tests of this CBD oil. See lab results for Rest CBD from April 05, 2019.

Mission Farms Rest CBD (Ministry of Hemp Official CBD Review)MISSION FARMS REST CBD OFFICIAL REVIEW

  • Highlights: Mission Farms Rest CBD will ease you to sleep with the combined power of CBD, chamomile, and other soothing essential oils.
  • Strength: 1000mg per 30ml bottle (also available in 250mg trial size)
  • Price: $29.00 – $99.00
  • Customer Service & Shipping: Fast, friendly customer service. Mission Farms charges a flat $5.00 shipping fee on orders.
  • Independent Test Results: Online.
  • Flavor & Feel: The essential oils give this CBD tincture a strong, distinctive flavor of citrus and lavender with notes of vanilla. With this oil, our reviewer fell asleep fast and slept deeply.
  • Ingredients: CBD oil / Full-spectrum Hemp extract in MCT (Coconut-based) oil with Organic Vanilla flavoring and Organic Essential oils (Bergamot, Orange, Lavender, Chamomile)
  • Other: Also available in Relieve, Relax, and Pure (just CBD) formulas. Mission Farms offers a generous 30-day money back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.

All Mission Farms products are made with hemp grown in Oregon. They also offer CBD topicals, CBD soap and even a CBD bath soak that our team loved. It soothed our muscles while leaving our skin super soft!

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Bioavailability & CBD Water Solubility: Exploring The Science Of CBD

Why do CBD brands make false claims about bioavailability? What is bioavailability, anyway? A CBD expert explores bioavailability and water soluble CBD in detail.

The hemp industry has seen a surge in products claiming to be “water soluble” and offering higher “bioavailability.” But what does this actually mean for products and consumers of hemp-based wellness products?

This article will help address the different methods used to make cannabinoids water soluble. We’ll also assess the CBD industry claims associated with these methods and bioavailability.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Keith Butler is the founder and lead hemp researcher for Life Patent, one of our Top CBD Brands. After Jessica introduced us to CBD bioavailability, we asked Keith for a more detailed “deep dive” into this fascinating subject. -KO


To understand these terms and their meaning within the context of hemp-based cannabinoids, it would be helpful to start with some basic science.

First, cannabinoids are lipophilic molecules (i.e., oil-based compounds that are not soluble in water). This means that when you place extracted hemp oils into water, they float. Cannabinoids in their natural lipophilic state do not mix with water and they act exactly as if one poured motor oil onto water—they will not dissolve in the water. This has always been the problem for oil-based compounds—because our bodies are up to 60% water, they have difficulty dissolving, and more importantly, absorbing these types of molecules.

The term “water solubility” refers to a compound’s ability to dissolve into water at a specific temperature. The term bioavailability refers to the amount of active ingredient (AI) in the compound which makes it into the bloodstream. If one injects an AI directly into the bloodstream, this is called 100% bioavailability. If a compound is ingested, in almost all cases that compound is subjected to what is known as a first pass metabolism, or first pass through the liver, where the contents from our stomachs are “cleansed” by the liver on the first pass of digestion.

It is here where most of the degradation of AI takes place as enzymes process digested material within the liver. The chances of ANY ingested lipophilic compound passing 100% of the AI into the bloodstream by ingestion is almost zero percent. Decades of pharmaceutical science have tackled this subject with relative success, but no pharmaceutical company claims 100% bioavailability of active ingredients in their formulations of lipophilic compounds.


Why, then, does the CBD industry continue to tout claims of 100% bioavailability of cannabinoids, or other inflated claims about bioavailability?

The simple answer is because they can. The marketing of unregulated products like hemp “allows” companies to print what they want to believe or what they want you to believe. This is simply the nature of an unregulated industry, and unfortunately the hemp CBD industry is overflowing with overzealous assertions and outright misinformation when it comes to water solubility and bioavailability claims.

Vitamin and pharmaceutical companies have developed methods over time which allow lipophilic molecules to be more readily absorbed by our water-based bodies. These methods have included micro and macro emulsions; liposomes; nano particles; and nano emulsions. While each of these methods has its place in the world of solubility, the truth is to date, this author is unaware of any certified research trials testing the resulting efficacy and bioavailability of compounds associated with each of these cannabinoid formulation methods.

We asked an expert to explain CBD water solubility and bioavailability. Photo: Science laboratory test tubes and laboratory equipment

We asked an expert to explain CBD water solubility and bioavailability.

Certified research is available on every form of conversion by the pharmaceutical industry for their products, but few in the hemp industry have done this important work. Very few players in the hemp space have considered blood plasma testing for AI and those who do are mainly working with their own products. There are no independent studies available on this subject without product bias designed to prove one product is better than another. There have been no governing bodies for the industry to guide or implement these studies, and as a result, the public hears unverifiable information created primarily for marketing purposes and providing little insight into the actual efficacy of a product.


What is the truth about bioavailability? How do our ingestion methods correlate to the amount of active ingredient our bodies process when we ingest hemp-based cannabinoids?

To begin, there are a few basic ways to introduce hemp cannabinoids to the body: through inhalation, ingestion, or application.

With bioavailability as the desired target, the most effective and proven delivery method is inhalation. Studies have shown that combustion, be it smoking or vaporizing cannabinoids, produces bioavailability levels from 2%-56% depending on the study and the smoker type, with averages leaning towards the higher side. The high discrepancy in availability is attributed to the experience of the test subject—novice smokers versus experienced smokers who inhale deeper and longer. So simply put, on the higher side of the scale, smokers get a high average bioavailability of cannabinoids around 40% (i.e., less than one half of what they ingest becomes available or quantifiable in their bloodstream). Now that we know this best-case scenario of actual high bioavailability (56% on the highest end), some claims by CBD (cannabidiol) and THC manufacturers may become a little harder to believe.

The truth becomes even more apparent as we move onto other methods.

Sublingual CBD has high bioavailability. Photo: A man takes a tincture.Sublingual CBD

Ingestion (sublingual) offers much lower bioavailability than inhalation, but the effects are longer lasting. Sublingual delivery is when a tincture is absorbed into the body by delivery into the bloodstream through the soft palate located under the tongue. This is considered the preferred method for bioavailability by mouth as the CBD can absorb through the mucosal membrane and enter into the bloodstream more rapidly than by swallowing. It is this action that many “water soluble” claims are based upon to increase the bioavailability to 100%.

But here is the trick: there are no independent published studies (that I am aware of) testing the transfer of CBD sublingually into the bloodstream by evaluating blood plasma test results to assess an increase in availability. There is a published article where sublingual techniques of cannabinoid delivery are discussed in comparison to known oral delivery bioavailability where the scientists believe that sublingual bioavailability is only slightly higher than oral ingestion. However, almost all the known studies involve THC (with exception of the work by GW Pharmaceuticals). With THC, there is a different outcome when ingested. Since the THC molecule undergoes changes in the digestive tract and transforms to 11-OH THC which is believed to be as much as 5 times more psychoactive than Delta 9 THC (the byproduct of D9 THC), the resulting effects—such as a long-lasting high associated with edibles—are magnified.

So, sublingual is perhaps marginally better than oral delivery.  Oral delivery (ingestion by swallowing) is verifiably known to have bioavailability levels ranging from 4% to 20%, with most studies and outcomes falling within the lower range below 10% bioavailability. As a result, we can theorize (because we have virtually no data to confirm this) that sublingual administration of cannabinoids may yield a range somewhere between 10% and 20%, but not much more.

What about rectal CBD?

There is another way for cannabinoids to enter the body: through rectal administration.

Anecdotal evidence and articles would suggest that this method is the most bioavailable as many cancer patients choose this route of administration. However, the only science available was conducted on monkeys and showed about 13.5% availability, much lower than one would expect given the popularity of this method in large dosages. The truth is, rectal administration is basically location specific. Based on the veins and arteries in the rectal area, absorption into the bloodstream is minimal according to existing scientific publications.

Topical CBD and bioavailability

What about the skin? How and why do topical cannabinoids seem to work? Is the skin capable of transferring CBD to the bloodstream to create bioavailability, and if so how much?

You might be surprised to find that, in reality, transdermal delivery of cannabinoids is only a theory, at least for now, but clinical tests are underway. Eventually, science will prevail as topical CBD products proliferate and inquiring minds prioritize this as an area of study. However, testing the transfer of a lipophilic molecule into water-based skin can’t truly be done without complicated scientific practices which are currently rare in the hemp industry. There is only one company that I am aware of (CV Sciences) who has created a transdermal delivery method with any strong science behind it and who was recently granted a patent for this invention.

A person's knee with topical lotion applied in a heart shape.Topical CBD vs. topical THC

There is one thing we do know: THC and CBD act differently as far as the epidermis is concerned, and CBD seems to be far more absorptive through the epidermis than THC.

There is also another reason why cannabinoid topicals seem to work so well for so many people. The skin is the body’s largest organ and is filled with CB receptors, as are our muscles, bones, nerves and tissues. So, it is possible the cannabinoids, given the proper carriers, can cross the epidermal layer and directly affect CB receptors by absorption.

If this is true, it would support the massive collection of anecdotal evidence which supports the general consensus that topicals work. But as a formulator, I can tell you that there is a big gap between those components required to make products that just work, and those that work really well. In developing LifePatent’s topical formulations, I am focused on making sure our products work really well as opposed to the ‘whatever works mentality’ that is prevalent in the industry and that is often opposed to exploring the possibilities of what could work better through dedicated research and development.


Now that we understand how cannabinoids get into our system in different concentrations dependent upon administration methods, we can now start to develop an understanding of the current water solubility methods employed to increase availability, efficacy, or both. We can also now take a look at some of the claims made by certain product lines, and better understand the challenges that consumer’s face when trying to evaluate and differentiate cannabinoid products in the marketplace.

One popular CBD website claims that their ‘Nano Particle Water Soluble CBD’ has a bioavailability of 90% or more. Really? Let’s look at this claim. Our industry is plagued by false or unsubstantiated claims. I have seen no science showing that this company conducted clinical trials comparing their product to others, or comparing blood plasma levels showing their product is 90%+ as effective as an injection into the bloodstream. In addition, this company claims a “patent” on this technology, but do they actually own the patent? Would it be safe to assume the technology is patented and they are buying it from a third-party source who owns the patent and did the blood plasma tests to make the claim that this product works 90+% as well as an injection?

But let’s first understand what this claim is for—it is for a “new” technology which is claimed to be “better” than Nano-Emulsion technology (which this company claims offers an absorption rate of 10-30%). If Nano-Emulsion CBD has a bioavailability rate of 10-30%, and we know that sublingual oil-based tinctures already have a bioavailability rate of 10-20%, where do these claims of increased bioavailability leave us? Confused.

Is anybody confused yet?

If these claims are true, the Nano-Emulsion technology that everybody claimed increased bioavailability by ten-fold is now less than two-fold according to the claims of this particular company because their new “patented” technology claims to be superior to Nano Emulsion. The new science? Nano Particles, which producers claim are smaller and therefore work better.

That seems to be the ‘science’ in our industry: if its particles are smaller, they absorb better—which is somewhat true. A glass of shaved ice, which has a much higher surface area than a glass of ice cubes, will cool down and melt faster due to the greater surface area. Translating this into the skin-blood barrier, smaller particles may pass through the skin easier, but this does not ultimately change the way the body metabolizes or digests lipophilic compounds. Smaller particles just allow a greater surface area in which to transfer the active ingredients through carriers into the body where they still undergo the ‘first pass metabolism’ and where a large percentage of the active ingredients are destroyed by enzymatic processes.

So, is anybody confused yet?

Although it is confusing, now that we have the basics of administering cannabinoids, let’s look at the science behind today’s applications to improve their water solubility.


To achieve fine dispersion of oil into water, the water must be kept in a continuous phase while the oil is in a dispersed phase. This requires the use of an emulsifier or surfactant to assist in the dispersal. There are three common ways to achieve this.

  1. Macro emulsions, which utilize large 1 micron plus droplets, with the carrier oil and surfactants added. Macro emulsions are rather unstable. Think of this as the mixing of cannabis or hemp oil with lecithin (such as animal fats), and mixing it in a drink at home. This method probably works as well as a good sublingual dosage, and maybe even a little better.
  2. Micro emulsions are done on a smaller scale, with droplet sizes 1/10 of the size of a macro emulsion. Micro are more stable than macro. Unfortunately, like macro emulsions, the current science is lacking. Additionally, the number of surfactants used can overwhelm the taste buds or can exceed allowable limits for consumption.
  3. Liposomic transfer by spherical structures that are either man made, or available in nature, which have a water attractive (hydrophilic) outer layer and in inner cavity which is capable of encapsulating the cannabinoid molecules and pass them literally “inside” themselves. There are a variety of carriers out there available in the pharmaceutical industry which are approved to do this job. I expect over time there will be CBD manufacturers who reach out to the pharmaceuticals for help, or technology.

I’m excited to be a part of all of this! I can’t wait to one day unveil what my team and I have been able to create in our labs, starting with our solid dose pill. I’m sure others out there have great dedication for the cannabis sciences and are creating the future as well.


Probably the most well-known method of enhancing solubility is through the use of Nanoparticles or Nano Emulsions. These two terms are completely different things, so let’s first discuss the differences between emulsions and particles.

Nano Particles are generally carrier and active ingredient particles dispersed or disrupted with the use of sound waves or frequencies where the particle size of the intended target (the CBD and carrier) is disrupted into smaller and smaller pieces by ultrasonication (sound waves). Nano-sized particles are created by this process. These very small (nano) particles composed of carrier and active ingredients are much smaller than their non-disrupted selves. They’re capable of passing through membrane walls easier as a result of the highly diminished particle size.

Nano emulsion is a mixture of those nanoparticles with emulsions of surfactant droplets, which are also extremely small, and are designed to enter the body more efficiently. Nano emulsion is currently (theoretically) the most bioavailable option out there. But how much better is it? If you listened to some of the companies who sell it, they claim the bioavailability of nano emulsions is over 90%. By now, I’m hoping we all realize that this is doubtful. Considering known administration types, like sublingual or oral ingestion, can be boosted from 20% bioavailability in a best-case scenario to 90+% of that through an intravenous injection, I would be really surprised if a study could ever prove such efficacy for traditional delivery methods.


Returning to nano water soluble claims of 100% absorption, we can see this simply cannot be true unless the water-soluble products on the market today could be (and were) injected directly into the bloodstream. As a result, how do we express the relative bioavailability of products that our industry supplies comparative to the science?

Photo: A researcher holds up CBD oil and a hemp leaf.

More research will be needed to determine the truth about different forms of CBD and bioavailability.

Firstly, we do the science and get the answers before we make claims. LifePatent filed patents in 2017 for water solubility and bioavailability of cannabinoids. We’ve still yet to make a claim of any kind other than the discovery of “nature’s delivery method” for cannabinoids. Our technology has been in testing for over a year. Once all the evidence is in and verified we will speak.


At LifePatent, we encourage all CBD and hemp cannabinoid users to do the research. The unregulated marketplace is the ‘wild west’ but eventually the wild west was regulated.

As time passes, I expect to see changes from both consumers and regulatory agencies. This will encourage the proliferation of real science and genuine products. Unfortunately, in our world today we only have the word of mouth and product reviews to make our choices. Tomorrow we may have science and technology to support those referrals and reviews.


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  • Elsohly, M. A., Stanford, D. F., Harland, E. C., Hikal, A. H., Walker, L. A., Little, T. L., Rider, J. N., & Jones, A. B. (1991). Rectal bioavailability of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol from the hemisuccinate ester in monkeys. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 80(10), 942-945.
  • Hazecamp, A., Ware, M. A., Muller-Vahl, K. R., Abrams, D., & Grotenhermen, F. (2013). The medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids-An international cross-sectional survey on administration forms. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(3), 199-210.
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  • Rashid, M., Malik, M. Y., Singh, S. K., Chaturvedi, S., Gayen, J. R., & Wahajuddin, M. (2019). Bioavailability enhancement of poorly soluble drugs: The holy grail in pharma industry. Current Pharmaceutical Design, doi: 10.2174/1381612825666190130110653
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Hemp Seed Oil Coffee: How To Make Hemp Oil Cold Brew At Home

Pairing the refreshing taste of home-made cold brew coffee with the nutritional punch of hemp seed oil, our hemp oil cold brew recipe makes for a delicious drink for any occasion.

Pairing the refreshing taste of home-made cold brew coffee with the nutritional punch of hemp seed oil, our hemp oil cold brew recipe makes for a delicious drink for any occasion.

With the rise of Starbucks in the ‘70s and the more recent rise of local 3rd wave coffee shops, cold brew coffee has become commonplace in millennial Instagram stories worldwide. Providing an easy-to-drink, smooth and crisp coffee beverage, it’s no surprise to see the cold brew become so popular.

Our hemp oil cold brew recipe is easy, delicious, energizing, and even good for you. Photo: A mason jar-style mug of cold brew coffee with ice cubes rests on a rustic wooden counter.

Our hemp oil cold brew recipe is easy, delicious, energizing, and even good for you.

While awesome on its own, a benefit that cold-brew carries from its hotter cousin is the innate ability to serve as a perfect canvas for other flavors, sugars, milks and syrups. This is where we insert the hemp seed oil part of this equation; a nutrient-dense oil that is easily integrated into all kinds of beverages, it can not only provide a nutritional boost but also tastes great.

While lots of people add coconut oil or even butter to coffee, we think hemp seed oil is a better choice. We’ve even seen at least one commercial hemp seed oil coffee on the market. However, our hemp oil cold brew is easy to make, and it’ll help you get through your stressful workday.


While coffee is good for improving athletic performance & liver health and even reduces the risk of diabetes, cold-brewed coffee brings with it a separate set of benefits. When the coffee grounds are steeped overnight (and sometimes even longer), the chemical composition of the drink changes. More specifically, the phytochemicals contained in coffee beans (which in turn contain antioxidants) stay preserved within the coffee. Normally these phytochemicals are burned away when exposed to high temperatures in the traditional preparation methods of coffee and in the roasting process, but when you use the cold-brew method paired with a light roast coffee bean, these antioxidants stay intact (for the most part).

Another benefit of cold brewed coffee is its lower caffeine content. Now, this may sound counter-intuitive to the ethos of coffee, but trust me, if you drink coffee for pleasure then cold brew is perfect for you. If you get easily wired from coffee, but you still crave the taste of coffee, try cold brew. With its lower caffeine content, you can drink cold brew multiple times throughout the day while mitigating those unwanted caffeine highs and lows.

We think hemp seed oil tastes better, and offers unique benefits over butter or coconut oil. Photo: A spoon stirring a coffee cup on a bed of coffee beans.

We think hemp seed oil tastes better, and offers unique benefits over butter or coconut oil.

With drastically different tasting notes than traditional coffee, cold brew is great at bringing out the individual tasting notes of the coffee bean, while also giving you a cool rush of flavor with every drink. Perfect as a canvas for other flavors or simply a refreshing coffee drink on a sweltering summer day.


Hemp seed oil’s benefits are similar to hemp seeds. Pressed hemp seed oil has a myriad of health benefits such as anti-inflammatories, fatty acids, and Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). Hemp seed oil also provides more valuable antioxidants.

The most important of this bunch is arguably the GLA contained in the oil. Not only does it reduce inflammation, but GLA is essential in regulating blood pressure, heart pressure and even obesity. In terms of macro-nutrients, hemp-seed oil gives you a nice nutrient boost while providing a source of good fats.

Plus, we just love the flavor of hemp seed oil coffee. We think you’ll love the way it brings out the earthy, nutty flavor of cold brew coffee.

Ministry Of Hemp Official Hemp Oil Coffee RecipeMINISTRY OF HEMP’S HEMP OIL COLD BREW RECIPE

Prep time: 8-20 hours

Servings: 8


  • 8 ounces whole light roast coffee beans (pro tip: look for a roasting date on the package for freshness and overall quality, coffee makers who put roasting dates on their packaging are usually higher quality)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2-3 tea spoons hemp-seed oil
  • ½ cup of hemp seeds
  • Sweetener is optional. We love this coffee black.


  1. Use a coffee-grinder to grind the coffee (you’ll want to use a larger grind, meaning keep the coffee similar to the texture of raw sugar).
  2. Combine the coffee-hemp seed mix with water into a large jar or pitcher. Mix in the hemp-seed oil at this point (this will allow the oil and coffee to mix while it steeps overnight).
  3. Gently stir to incorporate it into the water. Five ‘stirs’ should be good.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Steeping the mixture for longer means a more potent concentrate.
  5. Strain the coffee via cheesecloth or paper towel. DO NOT squeeze the coffee grounds as that will release bitter tasting notes (Paper filters not recommended as they tend to rip and make a huge mess).
  6. Put into resealable container.
  7. Drink and enjoy! This recipe creates a strong coffee concentrate that you can mix with water to taste, but 1:1 is a good starting point. You can add more hemp oil per serving of coffee if you want.
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The Best CBD Oil For Pain: How To Pick The Right CBD For Your Pain

With so many CBD brands on the market, choosing the best CBD oil can be confusing. Here’s some tips on picking the right CBD product to manage your pain.

How do you choose the best CBD oil for pain?

The answer may not be as simple as you think. Nowadays, there are so many different CBD brands and products that things can really get confusing, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Over the past few years the CBD market has grown at an unprecedented rate. The sheer success of the industry attracted many new entrants into the space, seeking to capitalize on what can potentially be a multibillion-dollar business. And though this CBD craze has contributed to an increase in innovation, it also caught the attention of some shady characters looking for a quick dollar.

So, if you’re considering grabbing some CBD oil for pain relief, you should keep in mind that the space is still mostly unregulated. As such, we need to be very particular with our choices to ensure that we pick a high-quality product and more importantly, one that is safe for consumption. In this article we will provide some guidelines to help you choose only the best CBD products for pain.


Method of manufacturing

There are several methods that can be used to manufacture CBD products. But not all are made equal. Some are perfectly safe, and others may be risky due to the use of toxic solvents.

While CBD may offer pain relief, knowing how to pick the best CBD oil for pain can be confusing. Photo: An older woman helps an older man who is clutching his back in pain.

While CBD may offer pain relief, knowing how to pick the best CBD oil for pain can be confusing.

The most reputable companies tend to use CO2 supercritical/subcritical extraction, because it is one of the best ways to get a high yield of CBD without any exposure to toxic chemicals. It’s really the gold standard as far as CBD extraction goes.

When looking for a CBD oil product for your pain relief, ensure that the brand is transparent about their production process. If there’s little to no information is available, this is usually a huge red flag.

Third-party tested

Top tier CBD oil brands will usually boast that their products have been third-party lab tested. It’s a great selling point and helps to bring validity and transparency to the brand.

For the consumer, it also provides some reassurance that what is claimed on the label is accurate, and that the item is safe for consumption. So, before you purchase that CBD tincture to relieve your pain and other symptoms, make sure that the item has been third-party verified. The actual results of the test should be available for customers to review. When you’re examining this information, ensure that it’s up to date and that the tests have been conducted within the last 6 months.

Any brand of CBD oil should be third-party lab tested to ensure purity and reliability. Photo: A scientist in gloves and a white lab coat examines a test tube of green liquid, with a microscope nearby.

Any brand of CBD oil should be third-party lab tested to ensure purity and reliability.

Usually details of the lab tests can be found on the company’s website. If they’re not available online, you should always request them from customer support.

Ingredients on the label

Transparent product labelling is absolutely essential for any consumable good. After all, you need to know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

There’s no way to tell if a CBD product is the best suited for your pain solely based on the nice graphics on the label. But the list of ingredients and nutrition facts on the back will certainly go a long way. The two main components that are usually included in a tincture are CBD and a carrier oil like MCT (often based on coconut oil) or hemp seed oil. Apart from that, you may observe fractional percentages of other cannabinoids on the lab test results.

Some brands may also offer their own special blend of herbs in addition to CBD, to enhance pain relief. Reputable companies usually give a detailed breakdown of all the ingredients included, and their respective percentages. If this information is obscure or non-existent, then we recommend you proceed with caution.

Reviews and recommendations

The internet makes it possible for us to get an idea of how a product will work before we make any monetary investment. Reviews and recommendations go a long way when shopping for CBD oil. Every brand will claim to provide the best CBD products for pain and the world of symptoms.

So, it helps to look beyond the marketing pitch and listen to the opinions of actual consumers or trustworthy sources. Always look for reviews and recommendations online before making a purchase. If the reviews are good then it will most likely be a good product, and if they’re bad, then you just saved yourself a bad experience.

In addition to sites like Ministry of Hemp, we often recommend the CBD subreddit on Reddit as a great resource for connecting with other CBD consumers.


The great thing about CBD oil is we can consume it in many different ways. There is no one size fits all, when determining the type of CBD product for your pain relief.

A man in a suit jacket and dress shirt takes a tincture. It can be hard to pick the best CBD oil tinctures for your needs, but considering a few key factors can help you make a decision.

Holding a CBD oil tincture under your tongue is a great option for pain relief, due to the effectiveness and high bioavailability of this method.

Usually the form of the CBD oil is largely dependent on the intended use.  Here are some of the most common CBD products and their unique properties:


Capsules are the most convenient way to consume CBD. If you’re on the go, or perhaps would like to take you CBD oil discreetly, this method may be right for you. Additionally, capsules are great for people who are just starting off, as they provide an exact dosage per unit, and are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.


These can come as creams, lotions or ointments and are absorbed directly through the skin. Topicals give the consumer a means to use CBD for pain relief without having to ingest or inhale anything. They are best suited to focus on specific areas and act faster than edible products, since the CBD is absorbed transdermally.


These are perhaps the most popular type of CBD oil product. Tinctures can be administered under the tongue and are also easy to use in the kitchen, by blending with other oil-based substances. If you’re interested in creating your own CBD-infused food, then tinctures may be the way to go.

It’s also worth considering that tinctures are highly bioavailable through sublingual application, which is great to maximize on the amount of CBD per dosage. Make sure to hold the tincture under your tongue for at least 30 seconds to a minute to get the maximum effect.


This is one of the fastest ways to get relief from CBD, since it enters your bloodstream via the lungs, rather moving along the digestive tract. Vaping tends to create a high bioavailability of CBD through this method of absorption. Additionally, it’s a discreet way of taking cannabidiol, since there is no distinct difference between CBD vape oil and others on the market.

A woman leaning against a brick wall exhales after taking CBD vape oil.

Thanks to the widespread use of e-cigs, you won’t look out of place while vaping CBD.

It’s important to be aware that a small percentage of users have experienced adverse reactions, due to the presence of contaminants included in some vapes. Check out our Vaping 101 article to find out more.


Typically, full spectrum oils are considered to be more effective since they gave you the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes. But, in cases where the consumer may not be permitted to consume even negligible amounts of THC, then isolates are an option.

For overall therapeutic use, full spectrum products certainly have an edge. However, isolates are tasteless so they’re easier to incorporate with meals. They also allow you to manage your dosage of CBD more precisely since there are no other ingredients included.



CBD oil tends to come in different ranges of concentration depending on the brand. The common ones are 250mg, 500mg and 1000mg. For a newbie, the best bet is to start at the lower end of the spectrum. You can increase the dosage as needed, when you get accustomed to the effects. If you find yourself taking higher doses, then higher strength CBD products quickly become more cost-effective.

Realistic expectations

Although CBD is a great option to help with pain relief, it is not a cure or miracle formula. As such, it is important to understand the effects of the compound and how it interacts with your body. One drop of oil is not going take all your body pain away instantly.

Try CBD for a while, and experiment with different products or methods of ingestion. But always ensure that your expectations are realistic.


We hope that these guidelines make it easier for you to find the best CBD products for your pain and therapeutic needs.

It’s absolutely crucial that you choose reputable brands, with high quality items. The form of the CBD oil should be based on the intended use and functionality. Information on any product worth considering,should be easily accessible and in line with the claims of the manufacturer.

With that being said, choose wisely and happy shopping.

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King Kanine King Kalm: A Unique Krill Oil-Based CBD Supplement For Pets

King Kanine King Kalm is a high-quality CBD oil for pets. Unique features include a syringe applicator and krill oil as a healthy base for this supplement..

King Kanine King Kalm is a unique, high-quality CBD oil product for pets.

We were impressed with King Kanine’s packaging, and pleasantly surprised by some of its key features. While most CBD oils come in glass vials with dropper tops, King Kanine CBD comes with a needleless syringe and a stopper to reduce the size of the mouth opening on the vial. The veterinary-style syringe makes measuring the dose and administering CBD to pets much easier and far less messy.

Another thoughtful departure from traditional CBD oils? King Kalm supplements use arctic krill oil for their base. While dogs, cats, and other pets can learn to take other carrier oils like hemp seed or olive oil, they’ll likely have less problems with this fishy smelling oil. In a note on sustainability, krill oil is an environmentally smart choice. Krill is renewable, full of omega-3 fatty acids, and does not contribute to runoff from fish farming. Vets often recommend krill oil for older dogs to help with aching joints as well as the flakey skin that old age can bring.

Photo: A bulldog takes King Kanine King Kalm CBD from a needleless syringe.

We were impressed by the unique features of King Kalm, such as the easy syringe applicator.

King Kanine paid us a fee and offered us free products in return for our honest opinion. If you purchase a product from one of these links, we’ll receive a percentage of sales. Read more about sponsored content on Ministry of Hemp.

All our reviewer’s pets came to love this CBD oil. Read on for our full review.


King Kanine is a relatively young company, founded in 2015, but they’ve quickly carved a niche in the pet CBD industry. This brand formulates their products with the assistance of pharmacists who have experience working with CBD, in an ISO 6 clean room. Their oils and CBD treats are certified organic. The CBD used in King Kanine’s products is CO2 extracted and then the products are tested by a third party independent lab for purity and potency. All CBD extracts are free from pesticides and solvents.

Our reviewer easily switched her pets to King Kanine King Kalm CBD oil. A sixteen year old former feral cat has new enthusiasm for her morning fishy treat, while a middle-aged Shih Tzu with a bad back became unexpectedly energetic and spunky. Where previous CBD oils improved the quality of life for her pets, this oil has brought even greater energy and playfulness to all the animals when given a daily dose.

We reviewed King Kanine King Kalm in its 300mg strength, designed for large dogs. Each time you fill the syringe, you’ll get about 10mg of CBD. If you have smaller dogs, or cats, you may want to try their 150 mg, or 75 mg strengths. All strengths come with the same syringe and opening for easy application. We gave the oil to the cat in wet food, while the dogs got theirs dropped onto their morning treats. Larger dogs would be even easier, as the syringe would allow the oil to be squirted directly into their mouths, without worrying about mixing into wet food or applying to treats.

King Kanine King Kalm CBD 300mg (Ministry Of Hemp Official CBD Review)KING KANINE KING KALM CBD OFFICIAL REVIEW

  • Highlights: King Kanine King Kalm is a high-quality, lab-tested CBD in a unique krill oil formula for dogs and cats. Their syringe system makes dosing a breeze.
  • Strength: 300 mg per 30ml bottle (also available in 75 mg & 150 mg strengths)
  • Price: $49.99 – $99.99
  • Customer Service and Shipping: Fast, friendly customer service. Free shipping on orders over $100.
  • Independent Test Results: Online.
  • Taste: A strong fishy odor and flavor that our pets loved.
  • Ingredients: CBD oil / Full-spectrum Hemp extract in Arctic Krill oil
  • Other: This brand offers a generous 30-day money back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.

King Kanine uses U.S.-grown hemp in their products. They also make CBD pet treats and CBD topicals for pets.

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My NoCo 2019 Diary: Visiting The Largest Hemp Expo In The World

We were completely overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the 2019 Nothern Colorado Hemp Expo in Colorado. Here’s some audio highlights from our recent visit to Denver.

My NoCo 2019 Diary: Visiting The Largest Hemp Expo In The World
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

00:00 / 00:39:03

Welcome back to the Ministry of Hemp podcast, recorded this time at NoCo 2019.

We were completely overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the 2019 Nothern Colorado Hemp Expo in Denver, Colorado. In this episode, Matt talks to so many amazing people doing things you would not believe with hemp. Our guests include:

The indigenous hemp growers panel at NoCo 2019.

The indigenous hemp growers panel at NoCo Hemp Expo.

We want to hear from you too. Send us your questions and you might hear them answered on future shows! Send us your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, email [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. If you really want to help out, we’d love for you to leave a short written review or even just a rating of our podcast.


As always, you can find download the complete show transcript here:

Read more about our visit to NoCo 2019:


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Top 6 Hemp Growing Countries: USA Now Ranks Number 3!

The U.S. jumped to number three on the list of top hemp growing countries last year. But two countries still have us beat, thanks to uninterrupted growing while we enforced decades of total prohibition on cannabis.

For the first time ever, the U.S. now ranks among the top hemp growing countries in the world.

The United States now produces the third most hemp in the world. The growing CBD market, plus other uses for hemp, along with gradually loosening laws around cultivation, processing, and production of hemp products are all contributing to the growing U.S. hemp economy.

Hemp has been used throughout the world for millennia now. The earliest record dating back 8,000+ BCE somewhere within modern-day Taiwan – a hemp cord used within pottery. This is around the same time agriculture was also invented.

For the first time, the US now ranks among the top hemp growing countries. Photo: A dense hemp field of industrial hemp grown for CBD in Oregon.

For the first time, the US now ranks among the top hemp growing countries.

With a history so rich, it comes as no surprise the plant grows on so much of the globe. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the top six hemp growing countries and discuss their success.


#6 – North Korea

Starting the list with a country like North Korea might be surprising to some. But those who know the country’s history are well aware of the importance of hemp to Korean culture.

Since the beginning of both North and South Korea’s written history, traditional weavers turned hemp fiber into a fabric known as “sambe.” This is often used for funeral clothing, though that custom is rather recent.

North Korea continues to use hemp and even cultivates it on an industrial level. One reason they’ve been able to grow the plant is their cannabis laws aren’t as strict as other nearby countries. Yes, it’s true you aren’t allowed to smoke the leaves of any cannabis plant — contrary to some rumors which circulated some years ago. In fact, smoking weed (and potentially hemp) in North Korea is punishable by death.

However, at least 47,000 square meters of land is dedicated to hemp textiles in Pyongyang alone. Not to mention, hemp naturally grows throughout the country.

#5 – Chile

Rules and regulations surrounding cannabis in Chile are quite strange. It’s illegal to consume in public and forbidden to grow the plant on an industrial level. Yet, since there are no laws against private consumption and cultivation, many Chilenos take advantage of this.

So much so, Chile held the record for the highest per capita consumption throughout Latin America.

Within the Quillota Valley specifically, records of hemp cultivation go as far back as 1545. It’s been used for a number of reasons, primarily shipping and army support. Though, some sources claim its main use is for seed oil production.

Because of the informal nature of hemp in Chile, it’s hard to find exact figures on hemp acreage, but this is our best guess.

#4 – France

France produced more than double the amount of hemp for the last few decades in comparison to all other European. Though, as recent as 2014, that stat slowly changed and the rest of Europe is now growing their share of the crop.

Hemp growing in a field in France.

Some reports claim hemp has been used in France since the Neolithic times. Since then, the plant has mainly been used industrially for animal bedding, nautical applications, and textiles.

As of 2017, France grew over 43,000 acres of hemp. And that number continues to rise.

France almost experienced a death to their hemp industry. Due to the introduction of cotton, hemp production declined to a point of almost becoming extinct. However, it had a revival back in the 1960s and, since then, has gradually revived.

Luckily for France, since the crop was never banned, production never had a reason to completely stop.

#3 – United States Of America

The U.S. only recently made the list this past year with the 2018 hemp acreage report. With 78,176 total acres grown in up to 23 states, the country saw a massive expansion which earned a spot on this list.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the crop nationwide, there’s a good chance the U.S. will continue to climb this list. Right now, the vast majority of hemp in the U.S. is grown for CBD. Other forms of hemp, used in textiles, fabric, or hempcrete, are often imported. We can expect that in the coming years, the U.S. will not only grow more hemp, but more forms of the plant too.

However, due to decades of prohibition, the following two countries were able to prosper within the last decades in ways we simply couldn’t.

#2 – Canada

Health Canada, the federal agency in charge of distributing hemp licenses, reported Canadian farmers saw an 80% increase in hemp production between 2016 to 2017 – from 75,000 acres to 140,000.

Harvest takes place primarily in three providences — Saskatchewan (56,000 acres), Alberta (45,000 acres), and Manitoba (30,000 acres). Most of this cultivation focuses on extracted seeds for hemp oils, hemp protein powders, and hulled hemp seeds (similar food to sunflower seeds).

A photo of an altered Canadian flag flying against a blue sky. The typical maple leaf is replaced with a hemp or cannabis leaf.

After Uruguay, Canada is the second country in the world to legalize recreational use of cannabis. However, legal CBD in Canada remains difficult to come by.

However, though the country reports they’ve seen a steady upward trend, signs are pointing to a potential decline in hemp production. The unfortunate truth is, Canada produced way more hemp than their people demanded. Therefore, prices on hemp products decreased exponentially.

The government is now working towards balancing out production with demand and, due to this, they may fall shorter on this list in the years to come.

Surprisingly, despite overall cannabis legalization and progressive attitudes on hemp, legal CBD in Canada is another matter. Technically, CBD is only available by prescription through medical cannabis dispensaries, but many people are accessing it informally on the gray market.

#1 – China

For some time, China grew nearly 70% of the world’s hemp. The earliest records of Chinese hemp use date as far back as the year 300. The main use for the plant, as with other countries on this list, was for fiber or survival food. In fact, after World War II, hemp saved many people from starving in areas of Northern China.

This brilliant use for the plant was noted by some Americans right around the time hemp prohibition began. In turn, many fought against hemp’s ban as they wanted to see its versatile uses put to work here in the States. As General Counsel Ralph Loziers of the US National Institute of Oilseed Production proclaimed in front of a congressional committee in 1937, hemp is used by a variety of nations around the world:

“Millions of people every day are using hempseed in [Asia] as food. They have been doing this for many generations, especially in periods of famine.”

Not only did the Chinese government never ban on the plant, they in fact supported industrial growth. Allowing hemp to prosper to an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 acres.


Though most of China’s hemp is roasted for domestic snacks and oil, nearly 40% of it is exported to other countries. That means nearly 90,000 acres of hemp — more than that grown in America last year — is in demand.

The sun hangs in a partly cloudy sky over a tall, densely packed hemp field. The Ministry of Hemp podcast will bring the latest hemp news and CBD science to listeners in every episode.

Not just the U.S., but the entire world seems poised on the edge of a new hemp boom.

As we continue to fight against prohibition, we often forget about the power this crop already exerts on a worldwide scale.

While the United States may be behind on this list, it’s vital to remember we didn’t fight to legalize the crop purely for our sake. High production would allow more trade with more nations. We’ll also be able to fully pursue the sustainable potential of hemp. Hemp may be another factor in bringing this world a little closer together.

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CBD Bioavailability: How Much CBD Are You Really Getting?

Let’s take a closer look at CBD bioavailability: how much CBD are you really getting when you take a tincture, eat a gummy, or vape? In this video, we compared the bioavailability for popular methods of taking this supplement.

Let’s take a closer look at CBD bioavailability: how much CBD are you really getting when you take a tincture, eat a gummy, or vape?

Bioavailability is the degree & rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream, in this case, CBD. There are several different methods of dosing CBD and each one has a different bioavailability. So, how much CBD are you really getting?

In this video, we compared bioavailability for the most popular methods of taking this supplement.


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CBD In Spain: Hemp Market Neglected In Spain Due To EU CBD Ban

The absence of CBD oil at Spain’s biggest cannabis trade show reflects turmoil over the legal status of CBD in Spain and throughout the European Union. Find out what we learned at Spannabis 2019.

Recent regulatory changes have cast doubt on the legal status of CBD in Spain and throughout the European Union.

Editor’s Note: This article on CBD in Spain is a continuation of our recent series on CBD and hemp around the world. See more in our articles on CBD in Canada and CBD in Uruguay. -KO

Spain is one of the most progressive cannabis hubs in Europe, with a network of hemp farms. grow shops and cannabis social clubs throughout the country. Spannabis, which took place this year from March 15 through March 17, is the largest cultivator tradeshow in the country. However, the absence of CBD oil there is an example of the regulatory turmoil that’s currently frustrating the European market.

Spannabis is Spain's largest cultivator event attracting a mix of industrial and hobbyist growers as well as cannabis advocates and users. Photo: Dozens of people crowd around the entrance to the Spannabis convention.

Spannabis is Spain’s largest cultivator event attracting a mix of industrial and hobbyist growers as well as cannabis advocates and users. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Tasha Kerry)

Unsurprisingly, the concept of using cannabis or CBD as preventative healthcare is still relatively new in Spain, and got little mention at Spannabis where the focus is on grow ops and gadgets. However, at this year’s event, “education” and “social responsibility” were the buzzwords on everyone’s lips, and hemp was making its presence felt in new ways.


In summer 2018, the EU notified the industry through the Novel Food Act, which places restrictions on any food items not in regular use prior to 1997, that it was no longer legal to sell CBD oil as a food supplement in Europe. In September, the organizers of Spannabis sent out an email announcing that CBD oil for human consumption was banned from the event though hemp seeds and skincare products are allowed in line with EU guidelines.

The EU’s Novel Food Act is not, however, legally binding, leading to disparities across EU countries, as some choose to implement the guideline while others ignore it. The lack of regulation means the market looks different in each country. Switzerland is leading the pack with almost 600 CBD companies selling domestically and abroad. In Italy and Austria, consumers are going crazy for hemp flower as a substitute for tobacco. It’s possible to buy CBD oil in pharmacies or health food shops in some member states, but not Spain.

Due to the EU's Novel Food Act, CBD Oil for human consumption was banned from this year's Spannabis but oils for topical use were allowed. Photo: A collection of topical CBD oils available at the Spannabis expo.

Due to the EU’s Novel Food Act, CBD Oil for human consumption was banned from this year’s Spannabis but oils for topical use were allowed. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Tasha Kerry)

“Spain is one of the drivers of the CBD market in Europe, but right now, self-regulation is guiding the industry,” explains Jaime Muñoz of Natureight, a CBD manufacturer based in Holland with offices in Spain, “and everyone continues to sell in spite of the risks because consumer demand is so high. That’s the point, consumers want this product, and the regulation needs to catch up with the market.”

A recent report from the Brightfield Group predicts that the EU CBD market will grow by up to 400% over next five years, meaning it could be worth €1.7 billion (almost $2 billion) by 2023. In line with the recent World Health Organization recommendation to reclassify cannabis, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) is campaigning to update the Novel Food Act. The EIHA presented a proposal for the regulation of the European hemp industry to the EU Commission on March 12th.

“We asked for clear rules to be put in place in order to facilitate the growth of the industry across Europe,” confirms Lorenza Romanese, director of the EIHA, adding, “What’s most important is to let the market choose the competitors. Plus, Europeans naturally prefer to buy locally so if we take the right steps, hemp offers the chance to create cottage industry producing premium local products.”


Though the Spanish parties Cuidadanos and Podemos are eager to follow Canada’a legalization model, Pedro Sanchez, Spanish prime minister has made it clear that, for now, he has “bigger problems” than cannabis. On top of that, the Spanish minister for Health, Maria Luisa Carcedo, announced last November that there’s “no scientific evidence” to back the therapeutic use of cannabis.

So while cannabis is fast becoming a wellness niche in other progressive markets, it remains the domain of an underground culture made up of clandestine growers and stoners in Spain, as evidenced by the clouds of smoke choking the halls of Spannabis, and the reggae on blast outside on the patio. CBD is, however, changing the conversation.

Alchimia's offices in Figueres are built with sustainable hemp to create an environment that reflects the company's ethos of Growing Happiness. Photo: An internal view of a modern "green" office building.

Alchimia’s offices in Figueres are built with sustainable hemp to create an environment that reflects the company’s ethos of Growing Happiness. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Tasha Kerry)

“In Spain, cannabis users can access THC through the social clubs, so of course that’s what they’re going to choose,” explains Marc Selan, president of Organic Oz cannabis social club, Barcelona. “I’ve started offering CBD strains in my club as a way to talk about the medical benefits of cannabis. Moving forward, it’s all about education.” Selan says novice users typically choose CBD strains while seasoned users want choice.

Issac Sunyer, sales director with Alchimia Web, an online seed bank, agrees that buyers of their CBD strains are a new market. “We’ve built up a catalogue of more 1600 strains to provide consumers with choice, and have been selling CBD strains for five years,” he says. “We see that buyers of CBD strains tend to be older and are not your typical cannabis user, which is why education is so important. Correct product labeling will be key to brand success in coming years.”

Alchimia strikes a chord with both novice and seasoned users by harnessing hemp to switch the conversation on cannabis to wellness. Their offices in Figueres are built with hempcrete and feature a Zen garden to promote the brand’s message: Growing Happiness. Staff are offered flexible working hours, and in-house initiatives like starting the day with a hug are encouraged.


Swaran Singh of iGreen Swiss, one of many new ventures visiting Spannabis, believes that socially responsibly brands will lead European hemp and cannabis market into the future, as “it’s what the new generation of consumers demand.” He also believes CBD is “just a phase.”

“In two to three years time, 80 per cent of companies will be gone, as the market consolidates,” he says. “Right now, Germany is setting the example for regulation because they have the trust of government and that’s what we need in the rest of Europe to win market confidence.”

“CBD has opened the market but medical cannabis is the real business,” he continues, adding a warning: “But it’s getting expensive to get in. It can take up to five years to yield a good crop, and the final product must be top quality, so it’s a huge investment. At the moment, investors are losing money, which is causing a lot of uncertainty.”

Daniel Musters, founder of CTgrow, a designer of environmental control systems for indoor grow ops, agrees that investors are restless, and governments are making it more difficult to get into the industry now because “they want to make cannabis clean.”

Hemp flower, like this brand for sale at Spannabis, is growing in popularity across Europe as a substitute for tobacco. Photo: Various hemp flower smoking blends available for sale at Spannabis.

Hemp flower, like this brand for sale at Spannabis, is growing in popularity across Europe as a substitute for tobacco. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Tasha Kerry)

“What hemp and CBD can do is change the stigma around cannabis,” he says, “And that’s already happening with these new hemp projects that are springing up around Europe. We just designed a system for a project in France, and it’s amazing. The whole community is involved, and it’s transformed the local economy because people are working in the greenhouses, making oils, creams, food, you name it. Hemp has injected new life into this town.”

Back on the pavilion at Spannabis, the presence of hemp is more subdued though there are long lines at the Canna Beer stand and lots of people munching on hemp chips. In the halls, the handful of CBD companies includes Greenmotiv, a Spanish distributor of creams and oils for topical use, and Naturflow, another Spanish company selling hemp balms, both targeting the wellness market.

In amongst the crowd are signs of the health and wellness market that’s coming. Lisa Guerra-Watson is an ex-real estate agent with an autoimmune condition who’s getting into the sector to educate women on the health benefits of a cannabis lifestyle and has created a brand called Seedella.

“This is an amazing event,” she says of Spannabis, “And it’s fun to be able to smoke a joint but I’m surprised by how little focus there is on the health benefits of cannabis here. We need a second event for that.”

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